I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and believe it’s one of the most powerful B2B marketing tools.
For starters, it’s the only social media channel that people log on to with business in mind. They’re not there looking for a laugh – it’s about improving their own prospects or learning something that will serve them well in their career.
People also use it to find new jobs, while recruiters use it to hunt for potential candidates. I use it a lot when I’m prospecting for leads.
I recommend that if it’s not already in your B2B marketing toolkit, you should have it there.
When you sign up, you start connecting with people you know in business or socially. Some people won’t connect with anyone they have never met. But I believe LinkedIn is a useful way of making initial contact.
Get the response you want
However, you should take a cautious approach. The site allows you to tailor your initial connection request, so I like to send a friendly message pointing out our common ground or contacts and asking if they’d like to connect. If you send the standard connection request to a stranger, you’re less likely to get the response you want.
LinkedIn is one social media site where the social aspect doesn’t mean cat videos – its atmosphere is more akin to a business club than the party on Instagram, the argument on Twitter, or the proud parents on Facebook.
You can have hundreds of LinkedIn connections with people you want to talk to, but if you’re not using those connections to develop your business, you’re missing out.
To do that, you have to build trust, demonstrate your expertise, and show the value you add to your business dealings. The first step is to maintain a high presence – to be visible.
Interesting, relevant content
That means providing your connections with interesting, relevant content. You can create it yourself, in the form of blogs or LinkedIn articles, or you can share others’ work.
It’s not uncommon for LinkedIn users to have hundreds of connections. To be seen on their news feed, you have to be posting regularly, sharing regularly and commenting on others’ posts authoritatively. If you can use images or videos, all the better – they make a post stand out.
You have to maintain a high presence on LinkedIn if you’re to take full advantage. I like to contribute a couple of times a day.
Remember, your posts shouldn’t just be about what you do, but about what you do for your clients. This is B2B marketing – and no one likes a braggart.
ADD VALUE TO RELATIONSHIPS
So if you’re a sales director, sure, you can trumpet those big deals you’ve signed – but spin it on to what your client gets out of it. It’s all about demonstrating the value you and your company add to your business relationships.
Carefully consider the impression you are making. Do you want clients to think of you as a super salesman or saleswoman or as the person who makes their life that bit easier? Think first about what your contacts want to see.
In recent times, big business names have been wooed by LinkedIn, with the likes of Sir Richard Branson posting regular thought leadership pieces. The site has become quite a repository of knowledge. You could follow the big guns’ lead by demonstrating your insights into your sector – or you could tap into their experience to develop as a businessperson.
While it’s great that you’re building your own profile on LinkedIn, your company can’t be forgotten. That means more than creating a LinkedIn page for the business and leaving it there like a signpost. People don’t visit signposts – they visit destinations.
DYNAMIC LINKEDIN PAGE
Just like your personal profile, the company page should be dynamic and give people a reason to visit. Treat it as another of your B2B marketing tools. That will mean generating regular engaging content to keep people coming back.
Don’t just use it to post about business successes – think about what your target audience want to know about your company, what value you add to a business relationship that would make them want to work with you.
We’ve all stumbled across neglected corporate pages with a couple of posts from a few years ago, then nothing. That’s worse than not having a presence at all. Like all social media, you have to do it properly or not at all.
That’s enough to get you started on LinkedIn. In future blogs, we’ll look at the handy tools the site has that can help your business – and how to go hunting for prospects.
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